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History, HACCP and the Food Safety Con Job

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Using the pretext of food safety, those behind the Food Safety Enhancement Act seek to institute changes the American public would not condone if it understood what is at stake. The country is being duped into believing that the pseudo-scientific measures prescribed by the bill will prevent new outbreaks of food-borne illnesses when in reality FSEA will usher in a number of undesirable outcomes, none of which do a thing to improve food safety. On the contrary, these measures will permit large processors to become an essentially unregulated segment of the industry by privatizing the inspection process, and -- at the same time -- the new regulations will constitute a cost-prohibitive barrier for small players to remain in business, making them easy targets for indiscriminant enforcement and greater market consolidation.

These proposed measures seek to apply "HACCP" (pronounced 'hassip') -- a food protection approach originally designed to assure the safety of processed foods -- to raw foods, a kind of mistake only a lawyer or lobbyist would see a reason to make. The food safety wrecking crew responsible for applying HACCP erroneously to "raw-in/raw-out" meat and poultry operations in the 90s is back and ready to apply it erroneously to the produce market, the next FDA target in its quest for expanded oversight authority and police powers.

FSEA's success would have severe consequences for the nationwide food localization movement. Though millions want to see the development of local food systems that provide an environmentally sound and health-sustaining alterative to the industrially manufactured products ruining our collective health, their dreams will be stamped out before they're allowed to grow their infrastructure and reach due to the FDA's expensive, unnecessary regulations.

If the Senate passes its version of HR 2749, we will also see our food laws brought significantly closer to harmonization with Codex Alimentarius, the cartel-acceptable food codes that the World Trade Organization employs to dictate to all member nations the terms of the global food trade for the benefit of transnational corporations.

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Nicole Johnson is a researcher and activist living in Ventura county, California. Her kids wish she would go back to painting and stop worrying so much about the world.
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